The National Insurance Crime Bureau is out with its annual “Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report,” detailing the cities in the country that see the highest theft rates per year. For more than five years running, metro areas in California have occupied the majority of the top 10. The same theme held true this time around, with 8 of the 10 cities all based in the Golden State.
You can learn more of the specific details in the web clip below, but first, let’s get something straight when it comes to avoiding car theft: The best defense is a good offense. RC4 Insurance Agency, LLC wants you to know the basics, like getting into the habit of locking all your car doors, keeping valuables out of plain sight and never leaving your keys in the ignition – even if it’s just to make a quick pop in at the corner store. That said, here are a few other useful hints RC4 Insurance recommends to help keep your car protected that you may not know about:
Avoid buying certain brands
If you were to manually review NICB’s auto theft reports from previous years, you’d notice a common theme: The cars stolen tend to be the same from year to year. The most common of them all? Foreign auto brands. As related to ABC News by Frank Scafildi, NICB’s director of public affairs, the reason why they’re frequently targeted is because they are highly reliable and their parts tend to be more easily interchangeable with other vehicles. This makes them simpler to sell on the black market.
Park your car strategically
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best place to park your car is in plain sight. This makes it harder for thieves to be discreet about breaking in. Also, where available, park your car somewhere so that the front is facing a bulky obstacle of some kind, like a streetlight post or a tree with a thick base. Also turn the steering wheel so that the tires are facing inward.
Purchase a VIN etching kit
Every car is unique, having a number that no other ones have. Appropriately titled, a Vehicle Identification Number is used both for registration purposes and as a theft deterrent. Usually found on the dashboard, a car’s VIN can also be etched onto one or all of the passenger windows through the use of a special chemical. If you Google “vin etching,” you’ll be able to find several do-it-yourself kits that get the job done right.
Here’s the aforementioned 90-second web clip detailing the cities on NICB’s “Hot Spots” list: